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#224: New "left-conversative" party, autobahn blocked, liberal mosque closed
Jewish writers and academics publish an open letter
Dear 20 Percent,
Thousands of people showed up at the Brandenburg Gate to show their solidarity with Israel on Sunday. Speaking at the event, German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the “protection of Jewish life in Germany” was the duty of German citizens.
Meanwhile, large un-authorised, pro-Palestianian demonstrations continue, largely in Neukölln. These protests have seen clashes between protesters and police, dozens of arrests. There have been accusations of police brutality against pro-Palestinian demonstrators — documented in videos like this one from Potsdamer Platz and this one from Neukölln.
One has to ask whether Berlin’s decision to ban virtually every Palestianian protest and pro-Palestinian symbols hasn’t itself contributed to the escalation.
The situation has gotten to the point that a group of Jewish artists, writers and academics living in Germany has penned an open letter condemning Germany’s treatment of people who support the Palestianian cause. In it they write:
“As Jews, we reject this pretext for racist violence and express full solidarity with our Arab, Muslim, and particularly our Palestinian neighbors. We refuse to live in prejudicial fear. What frightens us is the prevailing atmosphere of racism and xenophobia in Germany, hand in hand with a constraining and paternalistic philo-Semitism. We reject in particular the conflation of anti-Semitism and any criticism of the state of Israel.”
You can read the entire thought-provoking letter in English here.
More news below.
Popular politician Sahra Wagenknecht announced at a press conference on Monday that she and a handful of others were exiting the left-wing Die Linke party in order to take steps to found a new party. The first step is the launch of a non-profit named after … Sahra Wagenknecht — BSW or the Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance. The new party is being described by some commentators as “left-conservative”. The new group opposes sending weapons to Ukraine, wants to stop “mass immigration” and hopes to reduce inequality. The party could attract voters from across the political spectrum, including the far-right AfD, with whom Wagenknecht shares similar views, particularly on immigration and Russia. Its first test will be the European parliamentary elections next June.
No appointment necessary (initially)
You no longer have to get an appointment before applying for the Blue Card visa for highly-qualified workers at the Ausländerbehörde (officially the Landesamt für Einwanderung). In fact, you can’t even get an appointment (but you’ll be given one and have to appear in person once they’ve reviewed your application). Follow this link to feel what the future of bureaucracy could feel like if you lived anywhere but Datenschutzland.
Last night at 3am Deutsche Bahn received an email bomb threat. Berlin’s main station was mentioned as a target, say the Bundespolizei, the federal police force in charge of security at train stations. According to Morgenpost, more officers were posted at the Hauptbahnhof, but ultimately the police determined the threat posed no risk to passengers. Institutions across Germany received similar threats, including the head office of the Social Democrats, the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Kreuzberg, and broadcaster RTL’s Berlin office.
No longer happy disrupting off ramps, “Last Generation” climate activists blocked the entire eastbound side of the northern stretch of the A100 autobahn Tuesday morning, reports Tagesspiegel. Around 60 people took part, 33 people glued themselves to the road, while another three attached themselves to a car stopped in the middle of the highway.
Liberal mosque shuttered
The liberal Berlin Ibn Rushd Goethe Mosque, run by lawyer and women's rights activist Seyran Ates, has closed until further notice following terrorist threats, according to RBB. The Moabit mosque posted on Instagram on Friday that it had always received “ugly messages” such as insults and death threats against its employees. “Sadly, this dangerous situation has reached new dimensions.” Last week, T-Online reported that radical Islamists had planned to attack the mosque. Since opening in 2017, the mosque has grown to about 700 members, including many queer Muslims.
The Zitadelle Spandau was completed in the late 1500s. Over the centuries, the fortress on the western outskirts survived Swedish, French and Soviet assaults on Berlin. Since 2005, it’s been an open air concert venue. The citadel is also home to an excellent museum that houses a treasure trove of old Berlin monuments deemed too problematic to display in public. This month a new night club opened there: Zita.
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